Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cherene in Barcelona!

Cherene Ní Fhoghlú
My Trip to Barcelona.
Wednesday 14th March:
We arrived in Barcelona late at night after an alarming flight; the flight was unable to land because of fog and we were running out of fuel! To our surprise we had a star amongst us on the plane, Munster rugby player Lifeimi Mafi. Neil recognised him and we were lucky enough to get the chance to speak with him. He is a wonderful gentleman. We were then driven to our hostel by taxi  and ate at a near by pizzeria. It was a small local sort of bar. we had our first chance to try out a bit of Spanish because the man serving spoke no English. He told us he didn’t speak any Catalan and that was interesting too. Seeing as it was late we called it a night and went back to our little hostel.

Thursday 15th:
Barcelona is such an exciting city. Since we had arrived one day earlier than the other teams one of our teachers, Gráinne Ní Chuirrín was kind enough to bring us to the zoo and Picasso museum to pass the day. Bn. Uí Cheallaigh escaped to drink hot chocolate an churros! First we visited the zoo, it was amazing. I love animals! Later, we visited the Picasso museum ; although I had don't do art as a school subject nor have much interest in art, I still found the museum fantastic. There was such a different range of artistic products all stemming from one man. Afterwards we explored the city until the evening. Some of the students arrived at our hostel at tea time to take us  to the metro to Vilassar De Mar. we were up and down stairs in the crowded Metro; I was afraid I would get lost because I am small and I could hardly keep up!  When we finally go to Vilassar, we were met  by our host students and whisked away from our teachers without as much as goodbye.  Before bed we were shown around the town and even went to see a soccer practice. They were much more skillful than Irish lads; I wonder how they’ll do in the European cup.

Friday 16th:
This was the day my feet hurt so much. The weather was dry but there was a very cold wind. We visited the town hall which is set on one of the lovely Spanish squares. Then we walked the city to get to La Segrada Familia. This building is  beautiful, it has so many artistic features to it and all the construction makes it even more interesting. Unfortunately we waited outside for ages and when we got in we were rushing and didn’t have time to appreciate the beauty of the place. Then we walked for a long time again back to the old city.We then got a guided tour there from Rosanna. We spent a lot of time walking or waiting (nearly 40 minutes sitting in the cold at one point). I was glad to get back to Vilassar.

Saturday 17th:
We were up early to visit Monserrat Abbey. The views up there aremagnificent. I can't put words to express how much I loved it! We were given a guided tour but it was very rushed. There were some beautiful paintings in the museum but were were practically running past them! Then we had free time. Most of the students used that free time to climb the 1000 steps to the top of the mountain. I think the teachers might have been lazy and gone to the coffee shop! The weather was glorious and the views were stunning. I would love to live there. We spoke to some of the other tourists and that was interesting. They were mostly Spanish but there were some foreigners. Afterwards we got the bus back to Vilassar and we played some soccer and just hung out for the night.

Sunday 18th:
This was the day we had free from teachers. My hosts were really kind. The food in the house was typical Catalan food. I liked most of it but some of it was heavy and I found it hard to digest. Luckily the day was very fine, maybe the best day of our stay. We decided there was no better way to spend the day then on the beach . All the other students were there too. In the evening we went and played bowling. Then home to bed as we had an early start the next morning.

Monday 19th:
I had to get up at 7.00a.m. to be ready for school. The students in Spain are  lucky that they don’t have to wear a uniform. We had a class of Catalan and Spanish  and we accompanied our hosts to their scheduled class. I had the pleasure of going to technical drawing. It was fun to see Jaumé so serious at his schoolwork!  We then went to a little hall where the presentations were made. The teachers spoke and the principal thanked us all for our efforts. We watched each other’s video presentations about the theme on Minority Languages and Cultures. I think our’s was the best...of course!  The only live presentation was a beautiful dance by Milena from Bulgaria. It represented a welcome and featured the beautiful roses that symbolise the town of Kazanlak.  The school had a beautiful tapas  lunch set out for us in their cafeteria. It was lovely because it was the only opportunity we all had, all the students and the teachers, to socialise together. We then set off up and down on the Metro again  to Barcelona shopping.

My overall experience in Spain was fantastic. I got to learn a little Catalan and to understand how ordinary people there think. I would most definitely love to visit again sometime, especially to visit my host family ( Jaumé) who were so nice and made me feel very welcome. I'm very grateful to have had the pleasure of making lots of new friends. I  also got to practice my Spanish and have learned history and culture in Spain. It was a very different experience to being on a package holiday. Comenius gave me a great opportunity and I’m grateful to everyone who was involved in making it happen.

Cherene Ní Fhoghlú

Below, the view in Monserrat under the Catalonian sun

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